Labour unions are at a critical time in history. Unions are working to engage the current membership and exploring new innovative communication strategies that are needed to reach the younger generation in a meaningful way. Gone are the days of the bulletin board as the primary sources of union news and updates.
The labour movement in Canada has a long and proud history of success and positive community involvement. Throughout the years however, union membership levels across North America have been on a steady decline. Many would argue the decline in the ranks of unions is attributed to stronger labour laws protecting workers, less interest by the young workers entering the workforce and a more transient workforce demanding flexibility and merit over seniority.
We are pleased to announce that this year’s W. Donald Wood lecturer will be Mr. Peter Edwards, Vice-President Human Resources and Labour Relations at Canadian Pacific. Peter holds an undergraduate degree and Master of Industrial Relations (MIR) degree from Queen’s University. He is also a speaker at the Queen’s IRC Labour Relations Foundations program. The W. D. Wood Visiting Lectureship was designed to bring to Queen's University distinguished individuals who have made an important contribution to industrial relations in Canada or other countries.
In 2012, the IRC celebrated 75 years of industrial relations at Queen's. To commemorate the event, we've outlined the evolution of the IRC by focusing on the achievements of past directors, and the study of industrial relations at Queen's during this time.
On October 12, 2012, the IRC commemorated a diamond milestone: 75 years of industrial relations at Queen's University. The afternoon provided an opportunity to reflect on the IRC's history, its accomplishments, and the many individuals and organizations that have been instrumental in shaping the Centre's journey.
Rob Hickey, a facilitator in the Queen’s Master’s of Industrial Relations program, says restructuring is the big issue of 2007 for both labour and management. Below, Rob – who worked as an organizer for the Teamsters for a decade in the United States, and earned his MA and PhD from Cornell University’s School of Industrial …
On November 2 to 3, 2001, scholars, unionists, employee relations professionals, dispute resolution practitioners, and representatives from industry and government attended a special symposium on the State of the Art and Practice in Dispute Resolution. The symposium was held to pay tribute to the late Dr. Bryan M. Downie, an outstanding scholar and practitioner in …
In this Q & A with Emeritus Professor of Political Economy and Industrial Relations John Crispo of University of Toronto, the conversation ranges from the greatest pressures on the Canadian IR system to how Canada fared after a decade of free trade, what’s happening to workers, and the future of unions in Canada.
This paper studies the impact of free trade on industrial relations and human resource management in Canada by examining the cases of two globally focused companies with a strong Canadian presence
While Robert McKersie was visiting the Queen's University School of Industrial Relations and the Queen's University Industrial Relations Centre to give the annual Don Wood Lecture in Industrial Relations, Mary Lou Coates took the opportunity to talk with Robert about his views and theories on the future of industrial relations and human resource management.
This paper explores the relationship between worker cooperation with technical change and international competitiveness. It outlines the reasons why worker cooperation is important, how it is (and is not) obtained, and assesses the likelihood that Canadian companies can achieve it. The conclusions are not entirely pessimistic. While it is often very hard to create a cooperative attitude where there was none before, there have been some remarkable success stories.
George Adams presented this paper at the 1994 US-Mexico-Canada Conference on Labour Law and Industrial Relations in Washington, DC. According to Adams, Canada's participation in the North American Agreement on Labour Cooperation is important because it encourages us to explore our country's labour laws at both the federal and provincial levels so that we are better equipped to confront the issues we jointly face in a global economic environment.
This study was undertaken as part of the Structural Change in Canadian Industrial Relations project at the Centre for Industrial Relations, University of Toronto. The Canadian industrial relations system has followed a course of incremental change and adjustment over the past decade that leaves intact the basic institutional framework and relationships among labor, business, and government. Thus, the system, while changing in ways that are similar to employment relations in other industrial nations, has not undergone any dramatic transformation.
As a labour lawyer and a professor of labour law, George Adams mediated many disputes over the years. As a new member of the Ontario Court of Justice, he shared his views on the negotiation process with respect to the competitive challenges facing the workplace. He in presented this paper in May 1992 at the Annual Spring Industrial Relations Seminar.
Canada's industrial relations system faces a rapidly changing external environment in this last decade of the 20th century. Significant and far-reaching changes in our economic, political and legal environment are already being felt and even more changes appear to be on the horizon. The question squarely facing Canada's industrial relations community is the extent to which these important changes will reshape our existing industrial relations order.
In his address, Thomas Kochan, Professor, MIT Sloan School of Management, acknowledged Don Wood's major contribution to the field of industrial relations in his lecture about transforming industrial relations.
This paper was presented at the annual meeting of the Canadian Industrial Relations Association, held at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario on June 2-4, 1991. The purpose of this paper to explore the determinants of union beliefs and attitudes of workers in Canada, and to examine if attitudes towards unions differ systematically by gender, that is, whether men and women differ in their union beliefs and their disposition towards joining a union.
This paper was presented at the International Bar Association Joint Meeting of Committees P and V, on October 4, 1989 in Strasbourg, France, by the author, George W. Adams. “Industrial democracy” is often described as the raison d’etre for increased worker participation in corporate decision-making. It is typically associated with broad social objectives and seeks to extend democratic decision-making from the political sphere into the economic sphere through the elimination or restriction of the rights of the dominant industrial hierarchy.
In the late 1980s, a considerable body of literature was emerging about the so-called "vanishing" middle class. Studies by Bluestone, Harrison and others raised the issues of deindustrialization and a growing low-wage economy. In this paper from 1988, the author reviews the issues and evidence, and explores nine possible explanations: the baby-boom effect, changes in family composition, more working women, labour's falling income, traditional business cycle effects, a trade-based industrial shift, deindustrialization, industrial relocation and increased part-time work.
The papers in this volume reflect these diverse and contradictory trends and patterns in Canadian industrial relations in the 1980s in the face of what some observers believe is "a fundamentally altered economic and public policy environment." The purpose of these papers was to assess the state of industrial relations in the 1980s and to determine whether recent developments signal a fundamental change in Canadian industrial relations, as some commentators have argued.
Industrial Relations at Queen’s: The First Fifty Years was published in 1987 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the study of industrial relations at Queen’s.
This is a reprint of the closing keynote address presented at the special one-week Industrial Relations Seminar of the Industrial Relations Centre, Queen's University on October 22-27, 1972. The author is Judge, District Court, District of Parry Sound and Chairman, Ontario Labour-Management Arbitration Commission. Judge Little is well known for his valuable contributions as chairman of arbitration boards and as a member of various public bodies in the field of Canadian industrial relations.